A Better East Texas: William Wayne Justice - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

A Better East Texas: William Wayne Justice

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The death of Federal Judge William Wayne Justice marked the end of a life like few the state of Texas has seen.  Judge Justice was responsible for decisions in numerous landmark cases and while on the Federal bench in Tyler was at the center of decisions that changed life for millions.  He was disliked by many law enforcement officials because he ruled that Texas prisons represented cruel and unusual punishment and started a huge series of reforms that lasted 30 years.  He ruled that illegal immigrants and their children would receive free public education - a decision that led to the same ruling nationwide.  He also paved the way for desegregation of public schools and forced districts across the state to meet standards of racial equality.  That decision alone affected more than 1- thousand school districts and more than 2-million students.  He was unpopular and even hated by many in East Texas.  And while his decisions were unpopular with many, the bigger issue is that we have one person essentially establishing law for the entire country and whether you agree with the decisions or not, this was a classic case of legislating from the bench with practically no checks and balances.  As voters we did not have much say in the appointment of William Wayne Justice but we can hold our elected judges accountable so that this situation is not repeated and that will make for a Better East Texas.

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